Valentine’s Day Wacky Cake and Chocolate Covered Cherries


For those of you who like fancy chocolate covered cherries for Valentine’s Day, I’m going to show you how to make them at home. Now those would make a special gift for your valentine!

I was reminded of the recipe when a Kentucky reader wanted me to share it again.

Libby Frank, a Mt. Lookout reader, said her mom used to make a chocolate cake called cockeyed or wacky cake. “No eggs or hard to find ingredients. Everything is mixed in the pan and it’s likely from the depression era. So moist and good,” Libby said. Let the little ones make it — it’s that easy and they’ll be so proud!
Chocolate covered cherries with fondant center


1 jar l0 oz., maraschino cherries with stems 

Drain cherries in colander for several hours. Then on paper towels. They must be completely dry for fondant to adhere. 

Easy “Fondant”

Freeze extra fondant up to a month.


3 tablespoons butter, softened

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 cups confectioners sugar


Mix butter and syrup, then mix in powdered sugar. 

It will look a bit dry but will come together as you knead it smooth. 

If too soft to handle, chill for 15 minutes. (Mixture can be made ahead and brought to room temperature).  

Shape l/2 to l teaspoon mixture around each dry cherry, fitting fondant closely, enclosing the base of the stem as well. 

Flatten the fondant into a little disk, which makes it easier to fit around the cherry. 

Roll in your palms to smooth fondant around cherry.  

Place on sprayed baking sheet and chill until cold and firm. This is necessary for chocolate to adhere. 

Chocolate coating

2 cups bittersweet, semi-sweet or milk chocolate 

1 tablespoon shortening 


Melt chocolate with shortening. Let cool a little bit. 

Dip cherry into chocolate all the way up to stem. Coat completely or juice could leak out near stem. 

Chill until firm on sprayed baking sheet. 

Store, covered, in refrigerator. 

Bring to room temperature before eating. 

Wacky chocolate cake with buttercream frosting

Peg Bracken made this famous in her 1960 “I hate to cook” cookbook. 


1-1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup oil

1 tablespoon white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup water


Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8-9” pan.

Put dry ingredients in pan. Whisk to mix.

Make 3 wells in flour mixture. 

Pour oil in one well, vinegar in another, and vanilla in the last well.

Pour water on top of everything and whisk until smooth, making sure to get dry ingredients out of corners.

Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Buttercream frosting


1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup milk or cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups or so confectioners sugar


Beat butter and half the cocoa until a bit fluffy.

Add milk, vanilla and rest of cocoa and beat until smooth.

Add sugar and beat well. 

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